How to discipline a child without flogging, yelling, or beating is a very controversial topic. I will be sharing today’s blog post from two of my books: The discipline that works and Connect to correct the discipline. If you are saying: “I don’t know what to do; I don’t know where to go from here or where to start from” trust me you are reading the best blog post.
What exactly is discipline? If you have listened to me or read my posts over again you must have heard me define discipline as “Structure”. Discipline is structure and that is where the major challenge is.
EFFECTIVE DISCIPLINE HELPS TO:
1. Modify the child’s behavior: If your discipline is not modifying your child’s behavior, it is a failed strategy.
2. Develop your child’s character
3. Protect your child’s mental health
4. Help develop a close relationship with your child.
If any disciplinary strategy you are using does not do these four things you need to put a stop to that strategy because it is not working.
WHAT DISCIPLINE IS NOT?
1. Discipline is not shaming
2. Discipline is not yelling.
3. Discipline is not being permissive.
4. Discipline is not flogging. When you get to the point where you need to flog a person, your disciplinary strategy has failed.
5. Discipline is not insulting your children or calling them names.
6. Discipline is not a reward system. If you need to reward your child as part of your discipline process it means that your child doesn’t even understand why the discipline itself is there. If you need to reward your child for doing the right thing there’s a problem with the system.
7. Discipline is not an assumption or accusation trial. Saying: “you must have been the one that did it” to your children instead of asking if they did it, is an assumption and accusation trial and that is not discipline. If you read my book; The Discipline that Works you’re going to get more insight on that.
I stated that the difference between discipline and punishment is that discipline impacts the thinking brain while punishment impacts the emotional brain. If you see any system where flogging, beating, shaming, and yelling are prevalent, creativity is very little in that space. This is because one of the things the wrong kind of discipline does to a child is that it shuts down the creative part of the brain
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF NEGATIVE DISCIPLINE?
There was a study 3 years ago on children who were flogged and those who were not. An MRI assessment was conducted on the children to observe the changes in the brain responses while the children viewed a series of images featuring facial expressions that indicates emotional responses like frowns and smiles. They found out that children who have experienced flogging more had a higher activity response in the area of the brain that regulates these emotional responses and dictates threats even to the facial expression that most would consider non-threatening.
Surprisingly, the same reaction the brain has when responding to threatening experiences like sexual abuse was the same reaction that part of the brain actually had when an MRI assessment happened on the children’s brains who were flogged. This potentially affects the area in the brain that is used for emotional regulation and threat detection so the child can respond quickly to threats in the environment. When you keep flogging your child, you shut down the part of the brain, so the child is not able to dictate when things like that become wrong.
Flogging reduces the grey matter in the prefrontal cortex of the brain and this has been linked to depression, addiction, and other mental issues. This also alters how the brain actually develops for me that was one of the things that I actually saw that scared me.
Flogging also reduces cognitive ability. One of the things that colonization did was to shut down that part of us that can think. They did it through shaming, flogging, and stripping of our dignity.
The grey matter is actually what helps the child develop self-control, lack of self-control. The prefrontal cortex (which is where the grey matter is located) is where decision-making and thought processing takes place. A lot of children we are raising cannot think because we are not giving them the opportunity to think for themselves
The more grey matter your child has in his prefrontal cortex the better your child will be able to evaluate rewards and consequences. Your ability to actually make sure that this grey matter is retained is one of your WINS as a parent in raising a child that thrives. So, the irony is the more you use negative discipline on your children for the lack of self-control the less they have it.
Children do not need fixing they need to be shown how to regulate how to set boundaries without breaking them. It took me years to put a lot of what I share into practice. If you must discipline without flogging your children without hitting them and without yelling at them, you would need to :
1. Create a healthy relationship with your children.
You can only correct somebody that you can connect with. I say that correction without connection does not make sense because we are only able to influence people that we have a relationship with. This relationship might not be physical which is why even television can influence your children.
2. Authority and influence
Authority is not force and control, Authority is respect and trust. If your child cannot respect and cannot trust you, you have lost authority. The first place to start with is Trust, if your children cannot share with you the things that they feel about you, another person, and themselves then they do not trust you. And they will listen to the person they trust whoever that person is, it could even be the television.
Influence is not force, you don’t force or beat influence into people. You workout influence, you create influence, you live influence and people just simply follow. This also applies in your home that’s how influence works and that’s the only way you can actually get your children to really listen to you. Nobody listens to somebody that cannot influence them. Ask yourself how much influence you have in the life of your children.
One of the problems that we have in our proper parenting strategy is that there is no structure. We want to hold our children accountable to the things that we cannot even hold ourselves accountable to. It is not about looking at our children and noting all the things they are not doing. The question is: What structure is laid down for our children to actually put things together?
Discipline arms you with the ability to actually create systems that help you to grow to actually be able to learn. Unfortunately, what happens is that we are very quick to wait for the correction part. A child is growing, and you do nothing, you don’t build skills then you wait for the child to make mistakes and you crash on the child because for you it is all about quick fixes. If you’re not going to create a structure for the discipline you can’t practice what I’m teaching you, you need to be someone who believes in the process.
I have done this for the past 11 years (not yell and flog) yet my children have skills that are amazing. You don’t beat skills into a child, you teach them, and It is about you committing to the process. The process starts with you the process starts with you. One of my first favorite quote says that “Parenting first about you”, intentional parenting changes you first before you start to talk about your child.
Intentional parenting is not based on assumption. Do you beat mathematics into your child? If you cannot beat Mathematics into your child, why do you think you can beat your child into learning how to sweep or cook.
4. Be consistent. When you beat you do not have the moral conscience to now allow your child to go through the consequences of their actions. Actions have consequences, and if you do not allow your child to go through the consequences of their action, your child will continue doing that same action. For instance, if you beat your child for throwing a tantrum in a shop because he or she wants a sweet and then you buy the same sweet, you have not disciplined your child. What you have done is to reinforce the behavior or throwing tantrum. The child is going to do that same thing again and again, that’s why I said that discipline is not a reward system.
What are the disciplinary tools to employ? There are about ten of these tools in my book The Discipline that Works (You can order here)
1. Verbal Correction: Verbal correction is not just talking. The number one thing that you need to do when giving verbal correction is to validate your relationship, tackle your concern, not your child. Emphasize on the behavior, talk about the previous behavior that is good, and then talk about the one that is bad. You need to ensure that your reaction is commensurate to the challenge and don’t ask why. Asking “Why” gives the suggestion that there is an excuse for that behavior.
2. Emotions Coaching: First of all, emotions originate from the brain, specifically in the limbic system. The limbic system is a small structure that is located in the middle of the brain between the lower center and the higher center of the CORTEX. The brain stem controls alertness, arousal and sends sensory messages to the cortex via the limbic system. Much of our thinking and learning takes place in the context. Priscilla Bell an expert on learning has described emotions as the on and off switch of learning.
Research shows that children who understand their feelings and know about their feelings have advantages over children who do not. They do better in school, are calmer, are able to handle moods better, get sick less often they are very independent they are very creative.
Do you often find yourself losing your cool and yelling at your children?
Do you find yourself verbally abusing because you feel verbal abuse is better than physical abuse?
Don’t kid yourself, verbal abuse can be worse.
It happens to many parents, but it doesn’t have to.
It is possible to change and enjoy a calmer life because of it!
Yes it is!!
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Whether you have one child or twenty (or one you still yell at who is twenty), strengthen your relationships and maybe even laugh a little more–by taking this CHALLENGE today.
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Parent Coach & Author